After quarterbacking Illinois’ COVID-19 response for more than two years, Gov. JB Pritzker has tested positive for coronavirus and appears to have a mild case of the illness, his office announced Tuesday.
“I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and am experiencing mild symptoms, but thanks to anti-viral medications like Paxlovid and vaccines I’ll be on the mend much quicker,” the governor said in a tweet. “Thank you for all the well wishes!”
A statement from the governor’s office noted Pritzker is vaccinated and double-boosted. It said the governor hopes to return to “in person work” as soon as possible.
Illinois, like the rest of the country, is seeing an increase of cases linked to the new, hyper-contagious variant of COVID-19.
As of Sunday, 1,387 people were hospitalized across the state with COVID-19, more than triple the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations from the year’s low point in early April, when just 434 were hospitalized.
The statement from the governor’s office did not offer any sense as to where Pritzker may have contracted the illness.
But at least one attendee at a Saturday Democratic rally in Florida where the governor was the keynote speaker announced publicly she also came down with COVID-19. U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-FL, announced her diagnosis on Monday.
Pritzker’s appearance at the event in Tampa stoked speculation that the governor may be testing the waters for a potential 2024 presidential run if President Joe Biden opts against seeking a second term. Pritzker made a similar appearance last month before Democrats in Manchester, N.H.
Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Natalie Edelstein characterized Demings and Pritzker as “close contacts” but said they didn’t meet with one another.
Edelstein also confirmed that “other staffers have recently tested positive and are working from home” but referred questions to Pritzker’s governmental press office.
Gubernatorial spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said no one from Pritzker’s security detail that accompanied him to Tampa has tested positive but acknowledged the governor’s office has “had a few staffers test positive in the last week.”
She said a non-security staffer on the governmental payroll accompanied the governor to Tampa but wouldn’t identify that person nor divulge details about that person’s health status.
Dave McKinney covers Illinois politics and government for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @davemckinney.